The 22 Best Toys for 18-Month-Olds of 2021

Help them grow and learn (and stay busy!)

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks

Mega Bloks Big Building Bag at Amazon

"These extra-durable, high-grade plastic jumbo blocks are designed to fit the tiny hands of toddlers without sacrificing on fun."

Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll 'N Trike at Amazon

"Whether they want to peddle or just kick back and enjoy the ride, this learn-to-ride-trike will be a stroll must-have."

Sesame Street Love to Hug Elmo at Amazon

"Elmo is a character that transcends time and this hugging and dancing version will be an instant hit with your toddler."

Green Toys Tide Pool Set & Submarine at Amazon

"Bring the beach to bath time with these eco-friendly, BPA-free, adorable ocean themed water toys."

Battat Big Red Barn – Animal Farm Playset at Amazon

"Toddlers will love bringing their favorite barn animals to life with this travel-friendly farm play set."

Fisher-Price Bounce and Spin Interactive Puppy at buybuybaby.com

"Your toddler will be in for the ride of their life with this interactive, musical bouncer that also reviews their alphabet and numbers."

Boon Building Path Pipes Toy Set at Amazon

"These colorful suction water pipes attach to the bathtub walls to bring your toddlers creative ideas to life."

Learning Resources New Sprouts Munch It! Pretend Play Food at Amazon

"Your budding chef will feel like Gordon Ramsey with this crush-resistant, supreme quality plastic play food set."

Sesame Street Peekaboo Cookie Monster at Amazon

"Toddlers favorite game is peek-a-boo and this sweet tooth Cookie Monster will be ready to play endless rounds with is extra large cookie in-hand."

Melissa & Doug Pull-Back Vehicles at Amazon

"Perfect for toddlers that like to see their toys fly across the room, these plush cars will help develop their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination."

Shopping for toys for 18-month-olds can be daunting. They’ve outgrown a lot of their baby toys, but they’re not old enough for more complex ones with small parts. The ideal gift for kids in this age group should be educational, interactive, and entertaining. By 18 months old, they are starting to learn more about their surroundings and engaging in more independent play, so their toys should reflect their need for stimulating and interesting toys that peak their interests.

Here’s our roundup of fun and stimulating toys for 18-month-olds.

Our Top Picks

Mega Bloks Big Building Bag

Mega Bloks Big Building Bag

 Courtesy of Mega Bloks

With their easy-to-hold shape and bright colors, these classic Mega Bloks are the perfect gift for toddlers. The set comes with 80 durable, high-grade plastic blocks in a convenient zip-up storage bag. Recommended for ages 1 year old and up, they’re ideal for developing hand-eye coordination and motor skills, as well as inspiring creativity.

Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll 'N Trike

Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll 'N Trike

 Courtesy of Radio Flyer

Designed to grow with your little one, this ride-on toy from Radio Flyer converts from a toddler trike to a steering trike, learn-to-ride-trike, and finally a classic trike. It’s recommended for ages 9 months to 5 years and can hold kids up to 49 pounds. The trike comes with useful features such as an adjustable UV blocking canopy, cup holder, and rear storage compartment, making it perfect for family strolls.

Sesame Street Love to Hug Elmo

Sesame Street Love to Hug Elmo Plush Toy
Courtesy of Best Buy

What 18-month-old doesn’t love Elmo? When you give him a hug, this Elmo doll will hug you back, offer a kiss, and sing in English or Spanish for bilingual playtime. With the ability to respond to baby’s touch, hugs, and squeezes, there are seemingly endless features to discover. Recommend for ages 18 months and up.

Green Toys Tide Pool Set & Submarine

This versatile Green Toys set includes a submarine and six shells and sea creatures that are perfect for creative play at the beach or in the tub. Made from recycled plastic, the entire set is BPA free and dishwasher safe. The seaweed-patterned storage bag has holes on the bottom and sides, allowing the pieces to drain and dry out between uses. Recommended for ages 6 months and up.

Battat Big Red Barn – Animal Farm Playset

Perfect for imaginative play, this toddler-friendly set comes with a toy barn and adorable animals. Just the right size for little hands, it has plenty of textures and colors to promote sensory learning and also features a handle for easy transport. Complete with four farm animals and one dutiful farmer, your little one’s farmhouse is full of fun characters. Recommended for ages 18 months and up.

Fisher-Price Bounce and Spin Interactive Puppy

Fisher-Price Bounce and Spin Interactive Puppy

 Courtesy of Fisher-Price

For toddlers who love to bounce, this adorable dog provides them a safe, sturdy way to move. As your little one bounces up and down or presses the interactive buttons and lights, they can listen to music, the alphabet, numbers, or other simple words and phrases. The sturdy base keeps your tot safe while they ride. Recommended for ages 1 year old and up.

Boon Building Bath Pipes Toy Set

Another toy to make bath time more fun, these pipes suction to the bathroom wall so toddlers can create a chain to pour water through. Each pipe has a unique shape and function and can be used either separately or together. Recommended for ages 12 months and up, they easily rinse with soap and clean water and can be air-dried to avoid mildew growth.

Learning Resources New Sprouts Munch It! Pretend Play Food

This realistic-looking play food set comes with 20 high-quality, crush-resistant plastic pieces, including toddler favorites such as macaroni and cheese and a juice box. Whether they want to pretend they’re food shopping, cooking, or eating at a restaurant, they’ll have fun while building vocabulary and engaging in dramatic play. Hope your pretend food appetite is ready! Recommended for ages 18 months and up.

Sesame Street Peekaboo Cookie Monster

You can finally give your arms a rest from playing endless rounds of peekaboo. The ultra-adorable Cookie Monster plays the toddler favorite Peekaboo by hiding his face behind his oversized cookie. Recommended for ages 18 months and up, the plush toy also hiccups and says funny expressions such as "Hey! Me busy eating cookie!"

Melissa & Doug Pull-Back Vehicles

Toddlers can pull back on one of these soft fabric vehicles and then watch them zoom across the floor. Ideal for developing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, the four colorful cars will also inspire imaginative and creative play. The soft texture is perfect for little hands that like to toss toys across the room. Recommended for ages 9 months and up.

LEGO DUPLO My First Car Creations

Toddlers aren’t too young to be part of the LEGO fun, thanks to colorful DUPLO blocks that are recommended for ages 18 months and up and perfect for tiny hands. With this set, they can create four different vehicles and link them together to make dozens of combinations. The mix-and-match ability allows your tot to express their creative side.

LeapFrog Sweet Treats Musical Tea Set

This adorable tea set encourages pretend play and helps kids ages 12 months and up learn colors, counting, matching, and social skills. They can host a tea party as they listen to seven different songs and hear the teapot make sloshing sounds as it pours. A wonderful way to introduce toddlers to sharing, they can play by themselves, with you, or among friends. 

Learning Resources Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog

Spike the Hedgehog helps kids practice their fine motor skills as they maneuver his removable, colorful quills in and out of the holes on his back. The cute hedgehog also encourages color recognition, sorting, and counting. Recommended for kids aged 18 months and up, the toy is also a cinch to clean up, since all the quills pack up neatly inside the Hedgehog’s body.

TOP BRIGHT Race Track Set

This race track set is perfect for encouraging independent play and developing focus as toddlers set cars in motion and watch them roll and flip down the race track. Plus, the cars’ bright colors and numbers help kids practice their counting and color recognition skills. Recommended for ages 18 months and up.

KidKraft Deluxe Activity Cube

Each panel of the KidKraft Deluxe Activity Cube features different activities to help toddlers develop their motor skills and learn about colors, shapes, letters, and numbers. Recommended for kids 1 and up, this sturdy, durable toy is perfect for independent or side-by-side play. The best part is that it arrives fully assembled and ready to play with straight out of the box.

Little Tikes First Slide

Designed for kids ages 18 months to 6 years, this beginner slide can be used both indoors and outside and has handrails for added stability. The perfect height for little ones, this miniature slide is a wonderful all-season activity toy. It folds down effortlessly, making it easy to move around or stow away.

LEGO DUPLO My First Alphabet Truck

With letters, colors, figures, and a truck, this DUPLO set is an ideal gift for kids ages 18 months and up. The easy-to-handle bricks are perfect for tiny hands to build and stack as toddlers learn their letters and work on fine motor skills. As they improve their letter recognition skills, they can practice building words too!

VTech Smart Shots Sports Center

Sporty toddlers will love that they can play both soccer and basketball with this 2-in-1 toy. Recommended for ages 1 year old and up, the set lights up, plays music, and makes sounds while also keeping track of baskets on the scoreboard. The purple side lever makes it easy for your toddler to restart the scoreboard all by themselves to encourage independent play.

LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book

Designed for kids 18 months and up, this fun, interactive toy helps toddlers build early language skills. Words are separated into categories like pets, mealtime, opposites, and many more to help toddlers learn and understand the meaning of words. They can touch the words and pictures on each page and hear how they’re pronounced, in English or Spanish, and also listen to fun facts, music, and other sounds.

Melissa & Doug Rainbow Caterpillar

Toddlers will be mesmerized as they turn the colorful gears and watch the caterpillar crawl on the wooden base. Each of the colorful gears can be removed and added back to the wooden base to encourage color matching. Recommended for ages 18 months and up, this hands-on toy helps promote coordination and motor skills.

Little Tikes Shopping Cart

Little Tikes Shopping Cart

 Courtesy of Little Tikes

This tried-and-true favorite from Little Tikes inspires toddlers to engage in imaginative role play. Made from durable, BPA-, latex-, PVC- and phthalate-free plastic, it features easy-push wheels that are designed to protect indoor surfaces yet still work outside. This fun shopping cart is a great toy to pair with their other pretend toys like toddler play food and pretend kitchen. Recommend for ages 18 months and up.

Fisher-Price Little People Helpers Home

With multiple rooms featuring lots of opportunities for hands-on, interactive play, this Little People playset is a safe and sturdy option for toddlers starting at 12 months. Your little one can explore the house as they hear songs, sounds, and phrases. The interactive set encourages toddlers to help and care for family and pets while building real-life healthy and helpful habits.

Why Trust Verywell Family

Christine Luff is a freelance writer who covers fitness, health, parenting, and other topics. She’s also mom to a 13-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son, who have always enjoyed a wide range of active and educational toys.

What to Look for in a Toy for an 18-Month-Old

Safety: When it comes to toys, safety should come first. Look for ones that don’t contain harmful chemicals, don’t pose choking hazards, and don’t have sharp edges. Beyond that, you also want toys that are well-made and can stand up to lots of playing time, especially if you plan to hand those toys down to younger siblings or friends. 

Physicality: If getting your toddler moving is your goal, there are a ton of fun toys that'll do the trick. Whether it teaches them walking skills or helps them burn some of that toddler energy, there are plenty of options.

Learning: The best way for kids to learn is to do so through play. Simple toys can teach lessons like cause and effect, while others are designed to teach specific like letters, numbers, and more. Your child’s interests and abilities should drive your choices.

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